The story begins last week when Apple rejected an update to the official Nine Inch Nails iPhone application on the grounds of "objectionable content" (read: too many F-bombs). In this case, as it was in the rejected Tweetie update, the offensive content isn't actually part of the application; Apple's concern is with the song "The Downward Spiral" that can be streamed to the updated NIN iPhone App. The stupidity of this is palpable, but the hypocrisy is best described by Trent himself in a forum post over at NIN.com. Steel yourselves: unlike Apple we haven't censored the material -- so if naughty words can hurt you then by all means, don't click through to the full quote after the break. But Mr. Jobs, old pal, if you're listening... Trent may not be Bob Dylan, but he is the voice of the digital music generation.
As posted by Trent himself in response to Apple's rejection eMail:
...I'll voice the same issue I had with Wal-Mart years ago, which is a matter of consistency and hypocrisy. Wal-Mart went on a rampage years ago insisting all music they carry be censored of all profanity and "clean" versions be made for them to carry. Bands (including Nirvana) tripped over themselves editing out words, changing album art, etc to meet Wal-Mart's standards of decency - because Wal-Mart sells a lot of records. NIN refused, and you'll notice a pretty empty NIN section at any Wal-Mart. My reasoning was this: I can understand if you want the moral posturing of not having any "indecent" material for sale - but you could literally turn around 180 degrees from where the NIN record would be and purchase the film "Scarface" completely uncensored, or buy a copy of Grand Theft Auto where you can be rewarded for beating up prostitutes. How does that make sense? You can buy The Downward Fucking Spiral on iTunes, but you can't allow an iPhone app that may have a song with a bad word somewhere in it. Geez, what if someone in the forum in our app says FUCK or CUNT? I suppose that also falls into indecent material. Hey Apple, I just got some SPAM about fucking hot asian teens THROUGH YOUR MAIL PROGRAM. I just saw two guys having explicit anal sex right there in Safari! On my iPhone!Later in the threaded discussion, Trent clarifies his position with this little gem:
Come on Apple, think your policies through and for fuck's sake get your app approval scenario together.
Everyone - let me be clear. I love Apple products and as goofy and out-of-touch as their app approval process / policy is, I will still use them because they work 1000X better than the competition. This is not a debate, it's a fact. The iPhone is THE most elegant, modern smartphone at this point in time and it's perfect for what we want to do with the NIN app - except for the ludicrous approval process, and that's what I want to draw attention to.[Via The iPhone Blog]
Android is cool, but nobody has an Android phone. Blackberry is OK but the hardware is inconsistent and WinMo straight-up sucks balls. If Apple doesn't get it together, we will most certainly make it available to the jailbreak community. I didn't invest in this app to see it languish on the sidelines from an idiotic policy while this tour is in full swing.
Read -- Trent rages against the App Store Machine
Read -- Trent's Smartphone comment